Category Archives: 1 Star
I’m going out of town — actually, this country —- this weekend on vacation. I’ve been doing a lot of travel planning this week, trying to find the best deals, plotting out the best places to check out, etc. Long story short: I really hadn’t planned on writing a review this week. I didn’t have time to read any webcomics, let alone write a review about ’em.
However, after posting a recent press release, I came to the creeping realization that, man, I have read a hell of a lot of Stephanie McMillan’s Minimum Security. This absolutely discombobulated me. Of all the things in the world to embed itself like a termite in the soft, spongy recesses of my skull, why this particular comic?
Fortunately, Minimum Security is concluding a self-contained story arc this week. Next week, it’s embarking on a completely different tangent. Something about proletariat theory. Does this mean we will be soon reading The Communist Manifesto as illustrated through panels of interpretive dance? Will the world of Minimum Security be consumed by an apocalyptic event where society reverts to an agrarian system, a la NBC’s Revolution? Will every comic panel just be a paragraph long dissertation with a tiny doodle in the corner so that, yes, officially this is a comic and not a logorrhoeaic blog post? Who knows? As Alice Morse Earle once said, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”
Now is as good a time as any to look back at the smiles and the tears from the last two years. So grab yourself some organic brown rice sandwiches, slip on some locally grown hemp slippers, put on the soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi by Phillip Glass, ’cause we’re gonna take a trip down Self-Sustainability Lane and we just won’t stop until Capitalism is destroyed!
Hey, kids! Do you like webcomics? Sure you do! But do you think that webcomics have gotten a little … sissy these days? You read Penny Arcade and you say to yourself, “You know, dickwolves was funny. But it sure could’ve been a lot funnier if they’d actually shown the rape. And in graphic detail.”
To which I say: “What the hell is wrong with you?”
But, boy, do I have a comic for you! It’s a little something called Shädbase, by a creator who goes by “Shadman.” It’s a darkly humorous take on pop culture. Shädbase takes references from video games and cartoons, and it physically forces itself on those references without any consent, horribly abusing those references with blunt force trauma, and violating and humiliating those references until they’re emotionally scarred and bereft of dignity.
Suffice to say, links contained in this review are not going to be safe for work.
Well, it’s finally come to this.
If you’d asked me five years ago that I’d be approaching this milestone, I would’ve thought you crazy. My goals were simple when I started this site. I only wanted to review more webcomics than any other site ever has before. I think that mark has long passed. Then, after I’d reviewed my 100th review, I thought to myself, “Well, I have nothing more to prove. I think I’ll wrap up this site in, oh, six months.” Well, it’s been two and a half years since I crossed that milestone, and this site keeps on going.
I have reviewed everything from Jack to Rice Boy to Ctrl+Alt+Del to Lackadaisy. I have seen the stunning heights of Gunnerkrigg Court and the Stygian depths of Grim Tales From Down Below. I’ve seen the fall of Zuda Comics, the controversy over dick wolves, and Order of the Stick netting a bunch of money on Kickstarter. I’ve been interviewed by a Canadian magazine for an article on Kate Beaton, and I’ve presented an hour lesson for a class on webcomics.
And now … just now … I’ve reached the milestone that I thought I’d never achieve.
That’s right: today’s the day I review Least I Could Do, a rather notorious webcomic by Ryan Sohmer and Lar De Souza. It has published a comic strip every single day for almost 10 years now. That is a whole buttload of comics, people. And to a comic with such a deep archive… this is madness. THIS … IS …
…wait. Now’s not the time for a 300 parody. It’s 100 reviews too early, and… LICD has it covered. *sigh* Let’s just move along, shall we?
While checking my email during my break from reviewing webcomics, I recieved a profound feeling of deja vu. I got a request from an avid reader of this site to review a webcomic that, to put it politely, looked rather sketchy. It featured a world with humans and furries who would often mutilate each other. There were long scenes of characters having their skin and limbs peeled off and of gratuitous murder porn. The hero, if you could call him that, was often in contact with an anthropomorphic grim reaper character who lived in hell.
Yes, this reader asked me to review Jack.
But not THAT Jack.
This is the other Jack, written and illustrated by Norweigan webcomic creator Catya Alvheim. The comic is a little hard to find on Google, given the prominence of David Hopkins’ Jack, but if you type “drunk duck jack” in the search field it pops right up like a mischievous imp trying to educate you on the importance of springs. I felt a little guilty doing this, since Jack, and the art of Jack, specifically, strikes me as the sort of terrible comic that you’d make up in high school. So, yeah, I did my due diligence and, not for the first time, looked up the author’s age, hoping against all hopes that perhaps this was just a screwed up teen who didn’t know any better.
To my dismay… yes, this author is probably old enough to take it. Hopefully, if she comes across this review, she’ll take things in stride. (Heaven knows there are fairly cruel reviews of this Jack populating the internet.) It is also true that Jack was ,at some point, the product of some screwed up teen. But the author is no longer a teen, it’s still updating, and to my further dismay, it has apparently just celebrated its six year anniversary. That’s … that’s a whole lot of Jack.
(Incidentally, many links in this review are going to NSFW due to mutilation, nudity, cannibalism, excessive gore, and juggalos. Viewer discretion is advised.)
When I bring up Steve Napierski’s Dueling Analogs, your first reactions is probably, “Good Lord, is that comic STILL being updated?”
Followed swiftly by your second reaction: “No, seriously, bro, is that comic still being updated?”
After a bit of research, it should be a surprise the Dueling Analogs is still around. While never as successful as Penny Arcade — and really who could be — the history of Dueling Analogs is filled with relatively impressive achievements. Compete.com calculates that it’s had at least 127K unique visitors. That’s seriously mind boggling. In comparison, PvP only gets a third of those numbers.
Dueling Analogs is also a founding member of the Gamers Pair of Dice collective, which includes prominent titles like Goblins, 2P Start, and Nerf Now!! The comic has been nominated twice in the WCCAs (for Outstanding Gaming Comic and Outstanding Web Design) and has been voted best gaming webcomic by Joystiq readers at least nine times.
Have you every run into a bitter person who will talk your ear off about all their problems whether or not you actually want to listen? Will that person rant and rant and rant, and at some point say that they’re speaking their minds, and if no one speak up, then who will? But really, everything they’re complaining about is trivial? And that person is really just goddamn annoying?
Put it in webcomic form, and you get Andrew Dobson’s So … You’re a Cartoonist? This comic, by the way, was introduced me by a message board thread devoted to making fun of Ctrl+Alt+Del, who were bowled over by its horribleness despite being amongst the most jaded webcomic readers on the internet.
I’ve brought up the subject of John Kricfalusi on this blog before. Needless to say, I’m not much a fan of his style. Now, I appreciate his love and respect for cartooning history, since I too have a similar love the cleverness and creativity in classic newspaper comic strips as shown in my “Know Thy History” entries. While I don’t agree with him, I love how he seems to have a disdain for Pixar, The Simpsons, and anime. It’s a refreshing, unconventional stand, and I like how he backs himself up with the passion of a thousand burning suns.
However, I don’t think he’s as revolutionary of a cartoonist as many think he is. In fact, at the risk of drawing hatemail from hardcore John K fans, I think he’s a bit overrated. Much has been said of how he brought the veiny “ugly” style of cartooning and gross-out gags into the mainstream. It’s revolutionary! Maybe. But to me, the intentionally off-putting art style was just that… off-putting. Some people will see Powder Toast Man thrust his hairy nipples in Ren’s eyes and find it the pinnacle of humor. I am not one of those people, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
In fact, I think Craig McCracken and Bruce Timm have had more influence. Powerpuff Girls made it safe for simple, retro-style cartoons that dominated Cartoon Network for over a decade. Meanwhile, Batman: The Animated Series signaled a significant improvement for action toons: the static, kitchy 80’s styles from Dic and Sunbow turned into a fluid, flexible style that emphasized action and movement. Heck, I’d go so far to say that Mike Judge did more for the “ugly” style of cartooning than John K. What did Ren & Stimpy influence? Spongebob Squarepants … and that’s about it.
(You could probably argue that John K. is a major influence for KC Green, and for that I’m thankful. However, I’d still read way more KC Green than watch one episode of Ren & Stimpy. It’s like KC Green was better at being John K. than John K. was.)
It’s probably fair to say, though, that Aaron J. Paetz, Chris Allison, Ryan Kramer, and Mike Nassar don’t feel the same way. They’re the cartoonists behind Toonhole, which oozes the Spumco style from every pore.
Now, I should warn you, the links on this site are definitely not going to be of the safe-for-work variety. I don’t feel like tagging every link with an NSFW, so I just warn you now: proceed at your own risk. Don’t click on any link lest your boss look over your shoulder to see… well, we’ll go into detail later.
In the climactic sequence of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, or main character (played by Mike Meyers) confronts his nemesis, Dr. Evil (played by Mike Meyers) in the evil conference room. Nonchalantly stalling for time, Dr. Evil sneers, “There’s nothing as pathetic as an aging hipster.”
To me, this comment makes little sense. First of all, Austin Powers wasn’t an aging hipster. He was just unfrozen and in the prime of his life. He was simply just acting his age. Secondly, while Austin was a fish-out-of-water in the first movie, subsequent movies (where we can assume Austin was more aged) showed that he was more awesome than all the button-downed squares. And finally, his dad, played by Michael Caine, was the best thing Austin Powers In Goldmember, and he actually was an aging hipster.
Had Dr. Evil said, “There’s nothing as pathetic as an aging gamer,” then perhaps he would be on to something. Austin Powers would nod in agreement, Dr. Evil would be happy someone appreciated his opinions, and they wouldn’t have to wait for the last movie to discover that they are indeed brothers. (Whoops! Spoiler alert!)
Matt Thompson’s No Cash Value takes a look at gaming from the perspective of an older gamer. The writer and the comics’ stand-in, a bespectacled fellow ridiculously named Alan Spectre, are both in their mid-30’s. The days of hyperactive caffeine-fueled gaming are for a younger age and have passed him by. In a way, this is a departure from other webcomics, which have always were written from the perspective of ….
What’s that you say? Scott Kurtz is in his 30’s? And the Penny Arcade guys?